Sunday, 24 January 2010

Lots of things happening ...

Well we are betwixt two houses at present! The cookware is in one and we are in the other, quite deliberate! Don't intend to be multitasking whilst moving - so it's carry out curry again! My husband does not need any encouragement!
What fun we have been having - the snow thawed and we have seen the back of most of it although there is still a mountain in the yard that was cleared from the driveway. More fun when the loo started making noises that sounded as if it was going to bite! Then the dishwasher started bleeping and sending weird messages and refusing to work so we were not surprised at the gurgling sound coming from the wet room as a fountain of raw sewage shot up through the wet room drain - it being the lowest point in the house. Called Bob the dyno rod who arrived within 30 minutes, septic tank needs emptying he said, no it's nice and crusty (healthy septic tank), the feed pipe was blocked not with babywipes or other unfriendly to septic tank things but with the inside of the inspection chamber lining which had cracked in the frost and snow and fallen into the feed pipe - three huge chunks of cement. The loo isn't talking to us anymore and the dishwasher has rejuvenated itself - but that isn't it - the water pressure is very low so suspect there is a leak somewhere between us and the well.
The rest of the move happens on Tuesday so it will be crafting and living in the Pennines! I have several lots of curtains and blinds to make - I thought shocking pink flamingo roman blind for the bathroom to go with the shocking pink towels and bathmat I got in a sale last week. Bought the fabric 'just in case' a couple of years ago from the big blue and yellow shop, the only problem is that I have rather a lot of 'just in case' fabric...... I am going to cannibalise my much loved navy blue beach hut and yacht curtains which are now in house no3 into a big roman blind and a curtain to cover a door for house no 4. I certainly do not intend to move again for quite a while. Have also got some Cath Kidston seconds fabric for the kitchen window again a big blind and a door curtain. I love roman blinds and they are relatively easy to make, I don't use a kit but put them onto a batten - will take pictures when done!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Still stuck, knitting fingerless gloves

Sorry to keep going on about the snow and being stuck and unable to get out - this is day 3 and likely to be so again tomorrow. The snow is coming down heavily this evening and we are at about -6 already, -11 is forecast! We have everything we need so it is just a matter of sitting it out, we are warm and have a big woodpile - the only I don't like is the UHT milk - I hate that sweetness that comes with it!
Have kept myself occupied today with cooking and knitting some cabled fingerless gloves, I quite liked my handwarmers that I knitted the other evening however these are much better and look great - I have done them in a pistachio colour 6 ply merino wool - very snug and warm!
We are on the move again - this time over to West Yorkshire to a little town in the Pennine foothills near to the Rowan mill and factory shop! Heaven! Being stuck inside is getting the boxing up done although this is not the big move we did over from the Hebrides. Major sort out then and a minor one happening again now - trying to get all my stuff down to two large wooden chests and a very large wicker commercial laundry basket - that is just the wool and fabric! I have this romantic idea of it all going on the back of a cart and being pulled off by a horse - maybe I am a romany at heart!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Stuck, frozen water pipes, bread and handwarmers

We are snowed in. Managed to get out down the lane behind the bin men this morning to get supplies - well fruit, veg and milk. By the time we got back the snow was well and truly set in - great big fluffy golf balls falling thickly. The hot water pipes are still frozen and the sky dish is snowed in too! The plan is to get up in the loft tomorrow with fan heaters and thaw the pipes and at the same time lag them - the loft is thickly insulated but the pipes are above the insulation and don't benefit from any warmth from the house. Fortunately they are rubber/plastic pipes otherwise they would have shattered and we would have been very wet directly under them!
Enough of that, being snowbound certainly gets a lot of stuff done in the house. Have been making bread today and finishing off some socks and made one handwarmer, the other one will be done tomorrow as it is still snowing as I write.
The handwarmer is made from the bits of wool left over from making socks mainly german selfpatterning makes - socka, regia and some debbie bliss cashmerino that was left over from a baby cardigan. Didn't have a pattern for the handwarmer, made one up as I went along - some handwarmers are knitted straight however I have very broad hands (and these handwarmers are for me!) wanted a bit of shaping over the thumb. Knitted on 4 dpns these were 3.25mm used the same needles for both wools. Started with the wrist rib in k2 p2 - 64 sts (for this rib the stitch number has to divide by 4) so next size down would be 60sts etc; knitted the rib in cashmerino until it was long enough from where I wanted the handwarmer to end on my wrist to the base of my hand,(about 3 inches) changed to the sock wool, increased over the circle join (tail end) 2 sts every 3rd row 6 times (makes 76 sts again divisible by 4) then knit straight until knuckle length and back to the original rib wool and knit in k2 p2 rib for 8 rows or until long enough to suit, cast off in rib and that's it - sew in the ends. I thought about catching the top edge rib to just make a thumb hole but didn't like the stretched effect it gave, I think I will put something on the rib to show the thumb side. Very pleased with the one I have done - make the other tomorrow.
Also in the pics are some of the tweeds I will be making into cushions and bags, draught excluders and anything else I can think of. There are the socks that were finished today - the orange, khaki and brown ones are destined for my cousin Hil, the blue ones are the chilean hand dyed wool intended for Andrew for his birthday, the crazy yellow and red ones - someone brave to wear those - my husband has these in a larger size, this pair are size 5. The socks are all straight off the needles and need blocking to set their shape, this will be done before they go to their new owners.
Have made some bread today - this is a recipe I developed when we were doing b and b out in the Hebrides, needed a home made bread that wouldn't go stale too quickly but this tends not to hang around too long. This one has been made with stoneground wholemeal flour from the windmill at Skidby (just down the A1079 towards Hull) it is very coarse ground so I mix it with an organic commercial wholemeal flour, the other ingredients are olive oil, honey and yeast and a pinch of sea salt, it makes a lovely textured loaf that keeps - although as you can see my husband has been at it already!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Not again! more snow, polo necks and christmas prezzies

It's snowing again - big fluffy cotton wool balls. I used to be so excited but the novelty has worn off and the inconvenience has taken over! This house is big and draughty - have to pull all the very heavy curtains early, life is taken in hands going to the woodstore, seemed quite a good idea to site it at the end of the path however with a lot of snow on a very long roof, the logstore is in an avalanche area as the snow crashes off the roof to the ground! Hard hat required to fetch the logs and possibly a St Bernard too! It is so pretty but I think we will be cut off again tomorrow.
Have been out in the snow for a while - Hamish out in his new polo neck jumper, this is a design first and it is a bit long in the body, have to pull it up a bit to stay out of wee range! Keeps him very snug and warm although he did decide to roll in the snow. Also some pics of him eating his very posh biscuit, present from Rachel - a Canine Cookie from Harrods in the shape of a christmas tree and icing flavoured flavoured with cheese and marmite - possibly two of his favourite things!
The lovely mug with robins and the triangular plate behind are the work of my cousin - Hil, she gave me these for Christmas. She has just moved so is 'resting' at present but will start production again soon. She has to get her kiln moved which involves tail lift lorries and strong boys!
The Harris Tweed bucket bags are on e bay, have sold some already and more in production. I have also got some lovely Islay tweed from the woollen mill there - it is the Bruichladdich plaid, turquoise background with orange and navy blue, which I am going to make up into cushions and bags - will take some pictures. The sock production is in full swing, it's Andrew's (lecturer son) birthday in January and he seemed to rather like his Christmas socks so at the risk of being boring will give him some more for his birthday and maybe a couple of tweed cushions too - he is refurbing his little house in Manchester and tweed cushions will look good on his sofa when he gets one!
The flowers were the Christmas flowers from daughter Lizzie, she gets them from an amazing flowershop in Leicester where she lives, she puts the selection together herself and then it is handtied. They have lasted really well - there was a cabbage, roses, sea holly (dyed red), honesty, grasses. Very pretty.